Sunday, February 24, 2008

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Higher Education Gap May Slow Economic Mobility
The New York Times – February 20, 2008
Economic mobility, the chance that children of the poor or middle class will climb up the income ladder, has not changed significantly over the last three decades, a study being released on Wednesday says. The authors of the study, by scholars at the Brookings Institution in Washington and sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, warned that widening gaps in higher education between rich and poor, whites and minorities, could soon lead to a downturn in opportunities for the poorest families. The researchers found that Hispanic and black Americans were failing behind whites and Asians in earning college degrees, making it harder for them to enter the middle class or higher. “ A growing difference in education levels between income and racial groups, especially in college degree, implies that mobility will be lower in the future than it is today,” said Ron Haskins, a former Republican official and welfare expert who wrote the education section of the report.

Motherhood not the end of the line
Telegram & Gazette – February 15, 2008
Twenty-two years ago, when Worcester school officials saw that a growing number of pregnant teens were dropping out of school, they asked Worcester Comprehensive Child Care Services Inc. to provide child care, parenting classes and basic services at Burncoat High School to help students stay in school. Ten years later, the social services agency began a teen parent support center at South High. The program serves teen mothers from public and parochial high schools on the city’s south side, while the Burncoat program serves north side student parents. Since the programs began, 177 students have used the services. Most have graduated, and more than half have gone to college. According to a recent study by the National Women’s Law Center, dropping out of high school had been thought of as a problem for boys, but an alarmingly high number of teen girls are dropping out. One in four teenage girls in the United States does not finish high school, according to the report, and Massachusetts, with 24 percent of girls dropping out, was 22nd among 43 states ranked in the nation. The report, “When Girls Don’t Graduate, We All Fail,” says that if teenage mothers don’t get a good education, their children are also more likely not to finish high school and to continue they cycle.

YWCA receives $150,000 grant to help high school students graduate
Carolina Newswire – February 20, 2008
The YWCA of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, in conjunction with Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools and Exchange/Scan, has received a one-year grant of $150,00 from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to launch a program at Carver High School designed to increase high school graduation rates among high-risk public-school students. The program, which began February 1 and continues until January 2009, targets 50 high-risk eleventh graders at Carver High School. Carver High School has the second highest drop-out rate in the school district. The YWCA was one of 60 applicants, out of 300 total, chosen to receive a portion of a $7-million appropriation by the N.C. General Assembly to schools, agencies and nonprofit organizations for drop-out prevention. The program will focus on four serve areas: 1) Tutoring; 2) Developing “assets,” or positive experiences and qualities that foster human development; 3) Employment and career-building skills, including community service; and 4) Parent/teen workshops.

Juvenile Justice

A Home Remedy for Juvenile Offenders
The New York Times – February 20, 2008
The program, called the Juvenile Justice Initiative, sends medium-risk offenders back to their families and provides intensive therapy. The city says that in just a year, it has been significant success for the juveniles enrolled, as well as cost savings from the reduced use of residential treatment centers. The city said that in the year since the program began, fewer than 35 percent of the 275 youths who have been through it have been rearrested or violated probation. While in-home services mean that hundreds of teenagers with criminal records are returned to their communities, city officials say it is a trade they are willing to make. But whether the children go to residential correctional facilities or not, they come back to the community eventually anyway, Mr. Richter said, and the program “helps parents learn how to supervise and manage their adolescents so that they act responsibly instead of engaging in dangerous behaviors”.

Foster Care

Building a life after foster care
St. Petersburg Times – February 11, 2008
Tye Maner spoke during the opening session of a youth summit presented by the Junior League of Tampa and Connected by 25, a nonprofit organization that serve young adults ages 18 to 25 who have aged out of the foster care system. Organizers brought together 16-and 17-year-old foster children, with a few younger teens, to help equip them with life skills they’ll need when they are no longer eligible for foster care. Teens spend the day meeting in a pavilion at Busch Gardens, where they heard advice about fitness and nutrition, social and business etiquette, money and legal issues. Susan Touchton, Junior League of Tampa president, said improving the lives of children in the foster care system is an essential mission of the organization, along with education and literacy.

Bill would alter foster care process
Lexington Herald-Leader – February 24, 2008
Frankfort – In Jefferson County, attorneys volunteer to help indigent families at a crucial first hearing to determine whether a child must live in foster care or can stay with an appropriate family member. Parents in the rest of the estate aren’t as lucky – indigent parents go to court without a lawyer initially. State Rep. Darryl Owens House Bill 151 would require attorneys to be appointed before the first hearing in child protection cases, called the temporary removal hearing. It directs judges to tell families in writing and orally that they stand to lose their children permanently. The bill would also give court-appointed attorney in child protection courts the first raises they’ve had since the 1980s. Additionally, is would require that an attorney be appointed for indigent parents who want to appeal the termination of their parental rights.

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